Green Bean Casserole

Classic Green Bean Casserole
The components of the casserole can be prepared ahead of time. Store the bread-crumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onions just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hrs. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and heat the casserole in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed. This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2 quart (or 8 inch square) baking dish. If making a half batch, reduce the cooking time of the sauce in step 3 to about 6 minutes (1 3/4 cups) and the baking time in step 4 to 10 minutes. 

4 slices white sandwich bread, each slice torn into quarters

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1.4 teaspoon table salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz)
Beans and Sauce:

Table salt

2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed and halved (I use long frozen green beans, just cuz it’s easier)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound white button mushrooms, broken into 1/2 inch pieces (I use portobella and slice them)

3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

Ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1. For the topping: Pulse bread, butter, salt and pepper in food processor until mixture resembles course crumbs, about ten 1 second pulses. Transfer to large bowl and toss with onions; set aside
2. For the beans and sauce: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degree. Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. (I don’t do any of this:) – I just barely cooked the frozen green beans in the microwave and patted dry- so much easier)
3. Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
4. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3-quart (or 13 by 9 inch) baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. 

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